Focus on Africa: President Obama’s Historic Economic Summit


US-Africa-Leaders-Summit-2014 This week, President Obama is convening heads of 50 African nations for comprehensive discussions on international trade between the United States and the world’s fastest growing regional economy.

The US-Africa Leaders Summit 2014 taking place in Washington, DC during Aug. 4-6 is historic as the first meeting of this scale to be hosted by a presidential administration. The Summit is a positive step in fulfilling Obama’s vision for closer ties with the increasingly vital continent of Africa.

Trade Factors

The continent has drawn the attention of China, the largest trade partner to-date, particularly as nations compete to supply projected energy demands. Aside from Africa’s wealth of natural resources, the IMF estimates that the continent’s leading economies will require $93 billion per year in infrastructure development.

Over 200 million of Africa’s population base is between the ages of 15 and 24 years. This generation of African citizens is more educated than previous.

Political conditions across Africa are creating a climate that fosters sustainable economic activity. Recent years have witnessed countries in Africa undergoing reforms to reduce corruption as well as making strides for peace among previously warring factions.

These factors pose myriad positive implications for companies desiring to do business not only in Cameroon, Libya, and other countries with significant global trade relations, but also throughout Sub-Saharan Africa (or Black Africa) that has struggled to bring foreign investment.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left” textalign=”left” width=”36%”]“I do not see the countries and peoples of Africa as a world apart; I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world – partners with America on behalf of the future we want for all of our children. That partnership must be grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect.” — President Obama[/cryout-pullquote]

Opportunities

Analysts anticipate a range of strategic opportunities for infrastructure development, finance and insurance, engineering, computer science, and other key sectors that will be called upon to stimulate and support economies across Africa.

At home, the U.S. has a considerable advantage over nations of the world as the home of the most educated, financially-resourced, and experienced population of people of African descent. Consequently, our nation would be well-served by cultivating relationships between African Americans and the peoples of African nations as an important conduit for strengthening economic ties.

Footnote:

USA Today is publishing an in-depth series that features various countries in Africa. Topics include economic outlooks, population trends, development focus, reforms, and other factors that are positioning Africa as a promising epicenter for international trade. Summit details can be found on the White House website